Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Engineering and Robotics day at ODU

More than 50 Girl Scouts had the chance to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in new ways on October 20 at Old Dominion University (ODU). The event was made possible thanks to the help of engineering student volunteers and the Theta Eta members of Kappa Delta.

The workshop activities on Saturday helped girls earn robotic badges that are available for all Girl Scout levels.

The event kicked off with a motivational talk led by Girl Scout alum and Dean of ODU’s Batten College of Engineering and Technology, Stephanie Adams. Her excitement for engineering filled the room and inspired the girls in attendance. She talked about her journey as a Girl Scout and how it shaped her to be the woman in engineering she is today. Throughout her years as an engineer, she has gone from making sandpaper to designing surgical staplers and electrodes. After years of engineering Adams became the first female engineering dean at ODU, making each day a new and exciting challenge.

“No day of mine is ever the same,” Adams told to the Girl Scouts.

During her time spent with the girls, Adams had them guess the percentage of women studying engineering nationally. The girls shouted answers like “72 percent!” and “56 percent!” Once all of the girls had given their guesses, Adams gained their attention and told them news that shocked them. The number of women studying engineering nationally is only 20 percent, a statistic that will increase thanks to Girl Scout programs like the Engineering and Robotics event.

Along with earning their badges for the day, the girls were instructed to use the engineer design process: brainstorm, design, build, test and redesign while doing various activities like creating bloopers for a robot design and building small scale bridges to support the weight of books.

Girl Scout Daisies started by brainstorming with the ODU engineering students about what characteristics made up a robot. The girls came to the conclusion that robots can do tasks on their own unlike some machines. During their activity they were asked to design their own robots.

“I made my robot out of titanium and I programmed her to have feelings because everyone has to have feelings in some way,” Girl Scout Daisy Oliva Kemmerzell said as she drew her robot she named ‘Live.’

The focus of one of the other activities was to understand program coding. The goal of the activity was to “program” the girls' friends to direct them from point “A” to point “B.”

Girl Scout Junior Aliya Summers talked about her success where she was able to program her friends to get around the shape of an oval.

“It’s all about teamwork when you do it, and we were all working together! Today taught me that I should listen to others and their ideas. It shows that I am able to do more teamwork, not just in games, but in everything I do,” said Summers.

To end the day, Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors met to build bridges. The goal of the activity was to be able to create bridge that wouldn’t break when pressure was applied.

According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, STEM and the Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a natural fit and one that allows girls to improve skills like teamwork. Of the girls surveyed in the Imagine Your STEM Future program, 70% indicated that they learn by working with other girls. More than 80% of the girls in the study also indicated that their cooperation and team building skills improved. By hosting STEM events, Girl Scouts helps girls improve skills that will last them a lifetime.

Adams is a 2018 Girl Scout Famous Former Honoree who will be celebrated at the luncheon scheduled for November 29 at The Main. Join us as we celebrate Adams' accomplishments, including the partnership she initiated with GSCCC. Special early bird pricing is available until November 15. Tickets are on sale until November 21.